A search engine that gives results in a random order.
Shmoogle is an alternative search engine, that displays Google search results for any given query as a single scroll-down list in a random order. This effectively bypasses the search engine optimization (SEO) industry that determines the visibility of content, which is often biased and heavily influenced by commercial interests. Instead, it provides a more diverse and democratic representation of online content, as every result has a chance to reach the top, while more common content is more likely to appear first.
The project was started by the media artist Tsila Hassine in 2005 and received a lot of media coverage over the following years. Engaged in a long battle with Google, who repeatedly blocked the site, it became more difficult to maintain. In 2018 Shmoogle was relaunched by a team of artists, designers, and programmers based in Tel Aviv as "Shmoogle.world" and currently operates as an artist-run start-up.
Search engines are imperative to the way people acquire information, make decisions, and form opinions. While any URL is theoretically retrievable online, search engine providers use undisclosed algorithms to decide the order in which pages are displayed and therefore determine the visibility of content; how well it can be found. Serving the economic interests of search companies the algorithm introduces biases, for example, promoting more commercially powerful platforms as opposed to independent authors. By neutralizing these dynamics Shmoogle not only powerfully demonstrates the effect of search engine optimization but also provides a viable alternative.
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